It can be devastating to go on a holiday and take a multitude of happy snaps, only to find when you go through them later that many of your images have unwelcome black or white spots on them.

 

There may be a few reasons why spots appear in your photos – below we look at some of the main ones. Fixing these spots all depends on the type of spots you have, so read on to see what your problem could be!

 

There could be a few reasons why white spots have appeared on your photos. It may be as simple something in your surroundings or an internal problem with your camera.

Light Reflecting off Dust Particles

If the white spots are only in one or a few photos taken at a certain location, a possible likelihood is that it’s flare from the light bouncing off a UV filter, or the light from a flash reflecting off dust particles in the air, rain or snow.

 

This is a common problem with compact cameras, where the flash unit sits near the lens itself. An easy way to combat it is to light up your surroundings as much as you can, rather than resorting to your flash, or to relocate to where there’s less dust in the air. Alternatively, if you can detach your flash unit, move it away from your camera.

 

Dead or Stuck Pixels

Sometimes, the white spots represent dead pixels – photosensitive dots that are no longer working. Thankfully, many cameras today come in-built with a menu item that deals directly with this problem (it’s often called Pixel Mapping).

 

If your camera doesn’t come with this feature, you may have to send it to a service centre for inspection and repairs.

 

Black Spots on Photos

Black spots on your photos may prove a trickier issue – but it all depends on whether they consistently crop up in the same place on many photos, or whether they’re a more temporary feature.

 

Dirt on Your Lens

When you first notice dark specks on your photos, check your camera lens and filter to see if any dirt has settled there. If so, this is a simple fix just using your lens cleaning kit.

 

Dust Particles on the Sensor

If your black spots appear consistently in the same location, you’ve probably got dust particles on your sensor. This is a common problem for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras with interchangeable lenses.

 

Dark spots from dust on your sensor are often more visible at smaller apertures or when you take photos with large expanses of a single lighter colour – for example, a blue sky.

 

The easiest way to gauge whether the black spots are on your sensor is to seek out a brightly lit white wall, a plain white sheet of paper, or a perfectly blue sky and take unfocused photos.

 

Ensure your camera is set to manual mode, with the smallest possible aperture and a shutter speed of about two seconds. Then transfer your photos onto a larger computer screen to look at the images full size.

 

If there are black spots, you’ve probably got dust on your sensor. While many professional photographers do their own DIY sensor clean, it’s not recommended. It’s better to send it off to a professional who is practised in sensor cleans.

 

How to Avoid Getting Dust on Your Sensor

If you have a DSLR, it’s almost impossible to avoid getting dust on your sensor altogether. But you can still do certain things to reduce the risk of getting dust on your sensor, including:

  • Always ensure your camera is stored with its lens cap (or another protective cap).
  • Keep your lens changes to a minimum.
  • Try to keep a lens on your camera as much as possible.
  • Point your camera body down when you change lenses.
  • Avoid changing lenses in dirty or dusty environments.